Beautiful Evidence, Pretty Lies

More artform than science? Hettie Judah on data visualisation

By Hettie Judah

Ingo Günther, World Processor, 1989–2012. Photo: Jose Betancourt. © the artist. Courtesy CCCB, Barcelona Erik Kesse, 24 Hrs in Photos, 2011. Photo: Gunnar Knechtel. © the artist. Courtesy CCCB, Barcelona Kamel Makhloufi, Function, 2010, charting deaths in military engagements in Iraq between 2004 and 2009. Courtesy Tactical Tech, Berlin & Bangalore

As surveillance culture and the mass gathering of data have grown, so too has the culture of data communication. All the information swept up in the efficient, automated gluttony of the information-technology data grab needs to justify its rude acquisition – with every movement, transaction or conversation becoming potential fodder in the scramble to find meaning in the pattern of human behaviour, the less sensitive fruits of ‘big data’ are released to the public, making humanity en masse not simply…

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